Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you?

There is a standard measurement for most comics published in the U.S., but publishers do vary the format depending on where and how the comic is sold.  For example, the 36-page standard comic format works great in a comic specialty shop and on some newsstands, but a bookstore might prefer a smaller paperback format.  Some retailers do not want to deal with the low cost of a standard comic, instead preferring trade paperbacks, graphic novels, or a larger (and more costly) magazine-sized comic.  Digest-sized comics are ideal for a checkout line at a grocery store where space is a premium, but if a publisher wants to draw attention to their comic elsewhere in a store, perhaps on the end cap display of a toy aisle in the 1970s, they might decide a treasury-sized comic would attract more attention.  IDW has found success with micro-sized comics that allows them to place comics on racks with trading card packs.

Even the standard size of a comic has changed over the years; each subsequent age has seen the size shrink in both page count and physical measurements from the previous age.  Here is a table with the standard comic size for the age, understanding that the alignment of age to size is not exact, but a general guideline:

AgePeriodStandard Comic SizePage Count
Golden Age1938 - 19567 3/4" x 10 1/2"68 pages pre-war; 52 pages post-war
Silver Age1956 - 19707 1/8" x 10 1/2"36 pages
Bronze Age
Modern Age
1970 - 1985
1985 - present
6 5/8" x 10 1/8"36 pages

When one looks at comics from different countries, the formats vary widely as well.  In the U.K., a thin magazine-sized format was used for Star Wars Weekly by Marvel.  An even larger measurement was used for Yugoslavia's Denis and Plitikin Zabavnik comics.  German publisher Willams-Verlag released Star Wars comics that are roughly magazine-sized but even taller.  The next publisher of Star Wars in Germany, Egmont Ehapa, went with a more squat format but the comics are wider.  Brazilian publisher Editora Abril's O Incrivel Hulk issues are digest-sized.  Indonesia's publishers mostly use digest-sized issues as well, but also released standard and even treasury-sized Star Wars comics.  The Star Wars movie adaptation from Editorial Novaro in Mexico was released in the aguila or digest-size, but other Star Wars issues in this series are in the avestruz or standard-size.  France's Titans comic are standard size or slightly larger, but very thick.  And nothing beats a Japanese Weekly Shōnen Magazine for thickness; the six issues that contained the Star Wars movie adaptation are like phone books.

These different formats for comics can be a hassle for collectors wanting to store their collection.  I store standard sized comics or smaller (micros, digests, paperbacks, etc.) in comic boxes using Silver Age backing boards and bags.  For magazine-sized comics, trade paperbacks, and hardcovers, I find magazine boxes using magazine backing boards and bags work best.  I also use magazine boxes for CGC slabbed comics.  And for the even larger formats, like treasury-sized comics, they are placed in treasury backing boards and bags and neatly stacked.  I still haven't found a box size that works for these comics.

I have scanned most of my collection on a flatbed scanner (and store those scans along with a description of those books in a Java application/database that I wrote) but CGC slabbed and treasury-sized comics are too large to scan.  I have resorted to taking pictures of them on my phone and cropping those pictures.  My preference would be to scan those books, but I do not have that capability currently.  In fact, I have about a years worth of foreign treasury-sized acquisitions waiting to be photographed and shared.  Here is a preview of some of those foreign treasuries, to whet your appetite for postings to come:

foreign treasuries including:
Canada, Indonesia, Philippines, U.K.

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